Following the abrupt August 2022 cancellation of Batgirl by Warner Bros. Discovery, HBO Max removed at least six films that were HBO Max Originals, concerning fans that the streaming platform was cleaning house. President David Zaslav announced the same month that Discovery Plus and HBO Max would be merged into one platform in 2023. By December 2022, the platform axed over 80 titles without warning.
As of May 23, 2023, "HBO Max" is no more; instead, streamers have "Max." So: What is going on with HBO Max? Here's everything you need to know about the Warner Bros. Discovery merger and how it impacts your streaming options.
What's going on with HBO Max?
Although streaming services are known for adding and removing content, the sizeable slate of titles that was removed from HBO Max had fans concerned because Warner Bros. Discovery gave no warning that it would be wiping these films from the site.
On April 12, 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery officially announced that the new streaming service would be called Max, with the service officially online starting May 23, 2023.
How much does Max cost?
The new service has three tiers of plans, per its official site:
- With Ads ($9.99/month or $99.99/year), which streams in full HD on two devices at once.
- Ad-Free ($15.99/month or $149.99/year), which streams in full HD on two devices at once, with up to 30 offline downloads
- Ultimate Ad-Free ($19.99/month or $199.99/year), which streams in 4K UHD on four devices at once, with up to 100 offline downloads.
Since the April 2022 merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, the company has abandoned projects and laid off thousands. With this in mind, it's wildly important for Max to be a success.
Erasing "HBO" from the streamer's name is part of the company's plan to draw in more subscribers. From Succession to Dr. Pimple Popper, Max will house a slew of appealing entries for all types of audiences.
What will happen to Discovery Plus after the merger?
If you're someone who is subscribed to more than one streaming service, what happens if you have HBO Max and Discovery Plus?
According to Variety as of April 2023: "While Max will incorporate a swath of new Discovery Plus content, Discovery Plus will continue as a standalone service (currently $6.99/month without ads and $4.99/month with ads)."
Are HBO Max Original shows safe?
Initially, there were rumors that HBO Max being absorbed into Discovery Plus would result in the end of any original HBO Max content, including streaming shows such as Rap Sh!t, Hacks, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, The Sex Lives of College Girls, Harley Quinn, Our Flag Means Death, and more.
During the 2022 Warner Bros. Discovery Q2 call, Zaslav said the company would not be canceling or getting rid of HBO Max's scripted series anytime soon, per Deadline.
Fans will have to wait and see what the future of Max holds — and whether the new platform will live up to the hype of its predecessor.